Endoscopic Discectomy is an outpatient surgical procedure to remove herniated disc material. Using local anesthesia with the help of x-ray flouroscopy and magnified video for guidance, a small specially designed endoscopic probe is inserted through the skin of the back, between the vertebrae and into the herniated disc space. Tiny surgical attachments are the sent down the hollow center of the probe to remove a portion of the offending disc. The microsurgical attachments can also sometimes be used to push the bulging disc back into place and be used for the removal of disc fragments and small bony spurs.
The procedure takes about an hour, on average. X-ray exposure is minimal. You normally will feel little, if any pain or discomfort. There are no stitches. Upon completion, the probe is removed and a small Band-Aid is placed over the incision. The amount of nucleus tissue removed varies but the supporting structure of the disc is not affected by the surgery. The access route to the disc consists of only the probe's small puncture site, usually the size of a freckle, in comparison to large incisions required for open surgery.
Endoscopic Discectomy is different from open lumbar disc surgery because there is no traumatic back muscle dissection, no bone removal, or large skin incision. The risk of complications from scarring, blood loss, infection, and anesthesia that may occur with conventional surgery are drastically reduced or eliminated with this procedure. Endoscopic Discectomy was invented to be an effective treatment for herniated discs while avoiding these risks.